The Great Antecedent
For all things God is the great Antecedent. Because He is, we are and everything else is. He is that "dread, unbeginning One," self-caused, self-contained and self-sufficient. Faber saw this when he wrote his great hymn in celebration of God's eternity.
Thou hast no youth, great God,
An Unbeginning End Thou art;
Thy glory in itself abode,
And still abides in its own tranquil heart:
No age can heap its outward years on Thee:
Dear God! Thou art Thyself Thine own eternity.
Do not skip this as merely another poem. The difference between a great Christian life and any other kind lies in the quality of our religious concepts, and the ideas expressed in these six lines can be like rungs on Jacob's ladder, leading upward to a sounder and more satisfying idea of God.
We cannot think rightly of God until we begin to think of Him as always being there, and there first. Joshua had this to learn. He had been so long the servant of God's servant Moses, and had with such assurance received God's word at his mouth, that Moses and the God of Moses had become blended in his thinking, so blended that he could hardly separate the two thoughts; by association they always appeared together in his mind. Now Moses is dead, and lest the young Joshua be struck down with despair, God spoke to assure him, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Moses was dead, but the God of Moses still lived. Nothing had changed and nothing had been lost. Nothing of God dies when a man of God dies.
"As I wasso I will be." Only God could say this. Only the Eternal One could stand in the timeless I AM and say, "I was" and "I will be."
Let us think rightly of You, Lord, by realizing that You have always been there and that You were there first.
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